TSRI Launches Restructured Graduate Program
By Mika Ono
The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) launches a restructured
graduate program at its Kellogg School of Science and Technology
this fall. The new program, named the TSRI Doctoral Programs
in Chemical and Biological Sciences, will offer Ph.D. candidates
a wide range of courses and increased flexibility in course
"[This program] will take advantage of TSRI's scientific
strengths and position our students to be leaders in science
now and a decade from now," says Jeffery Kelly, dean of the
program and vice president for academic affairs. "The new
curriculum prepares students for a scientific environment
that is ever-changing, fast-paced, and integrated across disciplines."
Previously, TSRI offered two largely independent graduate
programs: Chemistry, and Macromolecular and Cellular Structure
in Chemistry (MCSC), which were ranked sixth and ninth in
the nation, respectively, by U.S. News & World Report.
In addition, TSRI's graduate programs were ranked second in
the specialty of organic chemistry. Graduate students who
came to TSRI prior to 2003 will continue to fulfill these
Beginning with the entering class, however, students will
participate in the new TSRI Doctoral Programs in Chemical
and Biological Sciences.
In the new program, students will select from among four
Chemistry Track: This closely aligns with the previous
program in organic chemistry.
Chemical Biology Track: This track is tailored for
chemists who need preparation in molecular biology, cell biology,
Biology Track: This is loosely aligned with the previous
MCSC program, while enabling students to take advantage of
Biophysics Track: This will serve numerous students
who want to focus on biology while being exposed to the physical
While students must declare their track upon arrival, they
also have the opportunity to change tracks any time before
taking their qualifying exam.
In addition, the new program raises academic standards and
further promotes a well-rounded scientific education as follows:
The qualifying exam in all tracks now consists of
two five-page research proposals modeled on documents scientists
are required to submit to the National Institutes of Health.
The first proposal focuses on the student's thesis research
and the other on another original idea.
Eighteen credit hours of course work with a B grade
or better are required to take the qualifying exam. Each of
TSRI core courses is now worth three credit hours.
Students are now required to complete at least one
lab rotation before selecting a research group.
Students must now complete a two-part course covering
literature reading, writing, speech, and ethics.
The new academic calendar follows the University of
California San Diego quarter system to enable students the
option of taking elective courses there.
"The new program draws on and combines the best aspects
of the previous two TSRI programs," says Graduate Program
Administrator Marylyn Rinaldi. "Requirements are clear and
The review of the graduate program began about a year ago
and involved input from more than 20 TSRI faculty and 170
graduate students. Student input was also sought and received
in a town meeting format. Three meetings of the faculty group
and four subcommittee meetings resulted in a proposal that
was presented to the entire student body and faculty. The
proposal for curriculum changes was endorsed by a vote of
the faculty and students and approved by the Western Association
of Schools and Colleges.
More information on the TSRI Doctoral Programs in Chemical
and Biological Sciences at The Kellogg School of Science and
Technology is available at: http://www.scripps.edu/phd.